Bra strap vests, bunched up shorts and clothing mishaps, aka faux pas previously considered ‘awkward’ when it comes to fashion, can now be seen on the catwalk as Central Saint Martins graduate, Josephine Sidhu reveals her latest Menswear BA collection.
We spoke to the 24-year-old designer on inspiration and creation, as she talked us through the process of how she brings her ideas to life. Her designs are emblazoned by industry experts and include pieces likely to benefit us all, comfort-wise.
MESA: What is Awkwardwear?
Josephine: In the case of my collections, ‘awkwardwear’ is about embracing the things that I couldn’t when I was younger. In my collection, I’m looking at the time in my life where everything was embarrassing in a new light, and trying to make those things beautiful while still showing the discomfort.
MESA: What inspired you to explore this trend?
Josephine: The starting point for my collection came to me when I began swimming regularly again after not doing so since primary school. It brought back so many memories of the specific habits that surround sports when you’re a lot younger, like the knicker trick where you take your knickers off from underneath your swimming costume as not to get naked. Remembering that time in my life where everything is uncomfortable and awkward because you’re not a woman yet but you’re leaving girlhood was inspiring and I wanted to explore it.
MESA: How do you create your designs?
Josephine: I usually start my design process by picking up on things I find interesting within my clothing, like when I’m getting dressed or undressed and different items of clothing get twisted into one another, I’ll take a photo or quickly sketch that idea out. I guess it’s a bit like playing around with initial draping ideas but just doing them on myself instead of a model.
I feel more comfortable to explore these ideas on myself, especially at the beginning off the design process as I can be very shy with my work. From there I start to develop these clothing ‘mishaps’ into structured ideas that can stand alone, and in the case of my graduate collection also translate these ideas onto a man’s body.
MESA: What is the standout piece from your collection?
Josephine: My favourite pieces to design were the bra strap vests, I think they summarise the whole mood of the collection really well and at some point, I’d like to produce them to sell. However my favourite piece overall was the green trousers, I spent so long trying to find that colour of the fabric, I went with my dad to Southall especially, to look through sari shops to find it.
MESA: How did you stay creative during the lockdown?
Josephine: I’ve been giving myself little projects to do during lockdown like making beaded jewellery, painting, sketching, I just kept finding more and more ‘jobs’ to do so that I wouldn’t get bored. I like to be busy and so that was the only way to get through lockdown for me!
MESA: Would you ever sell your ‘Growing Pains’ collection?
Josephine: I definitely would like to reproduce parts of the collection to sell. If I did then I don’t really know where I’d like to see it.
MESA: Three words to describe your style…
Josephine: Soft, delicate, easy.
MESA: Who do you envision wearing your collection?
Josephine: When I design I always have myself in mind, even though this was a menswear collection, so a lot of the time I just envision myself wearing it! I don’t have a particular person in mind, I’d just be happy for anyone who likes my clothes to wear them.
MESA: What’s next for Josephine Sidhu?
Josephine: At the moment, I’m working in fashion and hope to continue to do so for a while longer but I would love to do my own thing too at some point. For now, I’m just taking things as they come and I’m trying not to overthink my future too much.